Emerson Matsuuchi

IDW Games have steadily been adding licensed properties to their board game portfolio and the addition of Metal Gear Solid, as announced via Twitter at PAX Unplugged, has many fans excited. Emerson Matsuuchi has been tasked with the game’s design, which makes perfect sense considering he also designed the stealth driven game, Specter Ops (and it’s follow-up, Specter Ops: Broken Covenant), from Plaid Hat Games. Up until now, fans of the franchise had to settle for the lesser known Risk: Metal Gear Solid board game, which completely ignored the stealth aspect of the video game.

PAX Unplugged is a tabletop games focused event organised by the same team who run the more video game oriented conference, PAX (Penny Arcade Expo). Metal Gear Solid is an action-adventure stealth game written and produced by the legendary Hideo Kojima, developed for the Playstation by Konami Computer Entertainment Japan.

Plan B Games, the publisher that brought us the crazy popular Century: Spice Road, it’s much anticipated sequel, and the excellent Azul, has announced a new publishing branch they have titled Next Move Games. Next Move Games, much like Plan B, is focused on creating short, punchy, and high quality games that focus on elegantly simple rules and exemplary table aesthetic but feature incredible strategic depth, so the program doesn’t seem to have changed much. The only noticeable difference is that each game from Next Move will only have 4 letters in the title in order to drive home the point of their design and publishing goals, which leads us to their first of such titles – REEF. As described on their press release:

The first title REEF was created by acclaimed designer Emerson Matsuuchi – best known for designing the Century series. During the game, players serve as the reef itself, alternating turns and carefully selecting which colors and patterns in which to grow and expand – the more beautiful the reef, the more points they will score! […] While it could take thousands of years for a coral reef to grow, we expect a game of Reef to only take about 30 – 45 minutes.”

What a gorgeous game box, wouldn’t you agree? Even if that graphic is described on their press release as “Visual still in development”, I feel their progress thus far is a pretty good sell. Given that this is yet another game in a line following from Azul, I have nothing but good expectations for  REEF and Next Move. However, we may not learn much more about REEF until it’s debut on June 13th at Origins (much the same as the sequel to Plan B’s Century: Spice Road). If, like me, you want to find out more about Next Move’s future games and more information about REEF, please check out their website for more information and future updates!

After the phenomenal success of Century – Spice Road and Century – Golem Edition, Plan B Games have announced Century – Eastern Wonders. Designed by Emerson Matsuuchi, this will be the second title in the Century trilogy.

Centuries ago, the lucrative spice trade compelled the prosperous nations of the world to explore alternate routes to the sources of these precious goods. These nations took to the seas to seek out exotic lands. This led to the discovery of the famed Spice Islands where the most valuable spices of the world were found. This discovery also led to further exploration, competition….and later, war! During this time of prosperity and opportunity, you find yourself traveling on the high seas in search of these exotic wonders. As a merchant and privateer representing your nation, you seek to control this region for glory and profit. Your journey continues in the Far East.

Players take to the high seas as merchants who will trade cloves, tea, chili and ginger around the exotic Indonesian Islands. Century – Eastern Wonders introduces new mechanisms and players now utilize a map instead of cards to trade. The signature bowls and spice cubes make their return in addition to other, high quality components such as wooden boats, tons of tiles, and outposts.

Fans who already own Century – Spice Road can combine both titles to play the mixable game, From Sand to Sea, which has its own rule set. Unfortunately, this game does not appear to be compatible with Century – Golem Edition.

Century – Eastern Wonders supports 2 – 4 players, ages 8+, and takes about 30 – 45 minutes to play. It releases on June 13, 2018 at Origins 2018. Retail release would be shortly thereafter. Pre-orders will open soon with an exclusive pre-order promotion.

Plaid Hat Games has announced Specter Ops: Broken Covenant, a stand-alone expansion from Emerson Matsuuchi for his 2015 hit Specter Ops. In Broken Covenant, one player again takes on the role of a lone A.R.K. agent, secretly moving within the jungles of South America, trying to retrieve 3 mission targets while being pursued by genetically modified hunters from Raxxon. Broken Covenant uses very similar mechanisms to Specter Ops, with one player marking their movements on a pad representing the board, on which the hunters search for their prey, but features new equipment, hunters, game board and agents.

You can read the full press release about Specter Ops: Broken Covenant on Plaid Hat’s website here.

Plaid Hat Games has announced a new game in the Specter Ops universe, Crossfire by Emerson Matsuuchi. In Crossfire, players join the struggle between Raxxon and A.R.K. trying to either kill or save a Raxxon VIP. Players are divided into two teams of assassins and agents, and need to use deduction, social skills, and their limited information to figure out who among the crowd of bystanders is the VIP, and whose side each player is on. After three minutes of play, players need to decide on one person to shoot. If the VIP is still standing, the Agents win, otherwise the assassins win. But be careful, because anyone who accidentally shot a bystander automatically loses.

Crossfire is due to be released this summer. You can read the full news article on Crossfire here.

spector ops board

Plaid Hat Games has just announced that Specter Ops: Shadow of Babel, featured at Gen Con 2014, is now available for pre-order!

Specter Ops is the ultimate stealth action game. On one side, a lone A.R.K. agent infiltrates a Raxxon facility, seeking to retrieve three mission targets and escape alive. Equipped with unique skills and tools, the agent moves in secret.  On the other side, two or more genetically enhanced Raxxon hunters, alerted to the intruder’s presence, take no prisoners as they attempt to eliminate the A.R.K. agent before a successful escape. Super-human mutations and keen coordination aid them in their duty to destroy Raxxon’s enemies.

Specter Ops was designed by Emerson Matsuuchi and is for 2-5 players, ages 9+, and plays in 60-120 minutes.  For more information on Specter Ops: Shadow of Babel and pre-order information, visit Plaid Hat Games’ website HERE.

specter ops

Plaid Hat Games has announced a new sci-fi board game, Specter Ops.  Designed by Emerson Matsuuchi (Volt: Robot Battle Arena, Cipher Ops), this stealth ops game is set to release in 2015.  If you will be at BGGcon this week in Dallas, Texas, look for the preview that will be at the show.

A secret agent of A.R.K. has infiltrated a top secret Raxxon facility, attempting to complete three mission objectives before they escape.  But they are hunted by genetically modified Raxxon Hunters.  Players can chose which side they wish to join.

According to ICv2, the game will come with…

 4 Agent figures, 4 Hunter figures, 4 Agent character cards, 4 Raxxon Hunter character cards, 4 Secret Role cards, 4 unique Agent equipment cards, 8 generic equipment cards, 1 Occupy Vehicle card, 23 tokens, 2 6-Sided dice, a game board, a rulebook, and a movement sheets pad.  The game is for 2-5 players, ages 9 and up, and plays in 1-2 hours.